The people in the audience for "Take Care" were lucky -- others have had to go to the hospital to see the show.
Joan Mondale was in the Labor Department auditorium yesterday to watch the bouncy, saucy musical revue, dealing with hospital life, produced by District 1199 of the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employes.
"Except for a few shows, the only way to get to see 'Take Care' has been to pick up a bug and enter the hospital", Moe Foner, union executive secretary, told a healthy-looking group of government officials and labor members assembled for the only Washington showing of the musical revue.
"Take Care" is an original musical revue drawn from the day-to-day experiences of hospital workers and told informally at oral workshops at the union meeting hall.
Some 50 hospital workers provided the raw material that was transformed into sassy skits and sprightly songs by such stage pros as Eve Merriam, Ossie Daivs, Helen Miller, Micki Grant, and Lewis Cole, all of whom brought Broadway credentials to the task.
Mondale, who noted in her introduction that the arts transform "the ordinary into the the extraordinary," said afterward that "here was an entertaining, bright show drawn from ordinary lives."
"Take Care" is the first union-produced musical since the garment workers staged "Pins and Needles" in the 1930s. That revue, with the music of Harold Rome, and a non-profesional cast went to Broadway.
For "Take Care," the hospital workers union has put together a cast of professionals -- all covered by Actors Equity under union contracts -- to play six hospital staff workers.
The shows numbers include a nurse singing of "Dr. Kilcare" and having to be a weightlifter when moving patients, a lab technician ruining lunch with talk of germ cultures, and a cafeteria worker lamenting her early-morning blues with all those eggs to fry and boil just right.
"Take Care" was produced with support from both the National Endowment for the Humanities, which helped fund the oral workshops, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
It has been staged at hospitals in New York City for audiences of workers, patients, and visitors. Later this month it will be taken on tour to 12 states.